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How to Beat Amazon at Their Own Game

By Tami Ben-David December 12, 2013
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About the Author

A British ex-pat, Tami been writing and content-strategizing for Israeli tech start-ups for the last 5 years. When she's not writing nerdy content, you can find Tami on open water charity swims or traveling to far-flung countries.

Amazon pride themselves on their top-notch customer service.

In fact, unlike third-party sellers who have to achieve high seller performance ratings to even stand a chance of winning the Buy Box, no such restrictions exist for Amazon themselves. Rather, the Buy Box treats Amazon as a flawless seller, with 100% perfect ratings across all seller performance metrics.

Here are some great tips to help you beat Amazon:

# Offer your customers an exceptional experience

If Amazon are so perfect, then how can I, as a third-party seller, ever win the Buy Box?!
The Buy Box is awarded to the seller who can offer the best possible experience to the customer.* This best possible experience is a balance between high seller performance and low cost price.

Key Takeaway: High seller performance + low price = Buy Box win

# Don’t just lowball your prices

So if Amazon’s seller performance is so perfect, would a third-party seller have to sell for a much lower price than Amazon in order to win the Buy Box?

Absolutely not. Many people think that they can only beat Amazon if they set a really low price for their product. While it is certainly true that having a low price can swing the Buy Box in your favor, it is not the sole solution. These people are neglecting the other key element.

Key Takeaway: Lowering your prices isn’t always the best practice.

# Focus on your seller performance rating

Just because Amazon have a 100% perfect seller performance rating does not in any way mean that you can’t be practically perfect yourself. Although it is true that you’re unlikely to reach the 100% golden mark that will enable you to compete for the Buy Box at exactly the same price as Amazon, if your seller performance is high enough, you’ll only have to lower your price minimally below Amazon’s price in order to compete with them.

If your seller performance rating is low then of course you’ll need a low price to compensate for your less-than-perfect service. However, if your ratings are high enough, you’ll be able to win the Buy Box with a higher price.

The following is a perfect illustration of the above concept:

beating amazon at their own game

This seller has beaten Amazon to the Buy Box with a price that is only 1.73% lower than Amazon’s price. What this means is that his seller performance metrics are almost perfect and therefore he only has to lower his price a minuscule amount below Amazon’s price (in this case, 51 cents) in order to beat Amazon. Without such high ratings, he would have had to set his price much lower to achieve the same result.

Key Takeaway: Perfect your seller performance metrics.

# Deliver outstanding customer service

The mistake people often make is to place too much emphasis on low price and not enough on excelling in customer service. And customer service is imperative to selling successfully on Amazon.

Key Takeaway: Outstanding customer service will help you excel beyond your expectations. 

For more information about which seller performance metrics affect the Buy Box the most, and how to improve your ratings in these metrics, take a look at Feedvisor’s Buy Box Bible. You’ll discover exactly what you need to do to in order to maximize your ratings and optimize your chances of winning the Buy Box.

Provide stellar customer service and you’ll see that beating Amazon at their own game really is possible!

* The one exception to this is in the books category, where Amazon always win the Buy Box. This is because the Buy Box does not take other sellers into account at all if Amazon themselves have the product in stock.

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